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Thread: HELP - Portage County Against Open Carry

  1. #1
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Hello all -

    About a week and a half ago I mailed off a letter to the Sheriff of Portage County WI, John E Charewicz, questioning his departments policy on open carry in this county. Boy am I glad I did!

    Here's the letter I sent


    Dear Sir

    I am writing to respectively ask your position in regards to the lawful open carry of firearms in Portage County, WI. Specifically, what is the Portage County Sheriff Departments stance on a citizen's right to lawfully bear unconcealed arms in public.

    Thank you for your time in this matter.

    Here is the letter I received today:

    Mr Anmut,

    The Portage County Board has passed an ordinance, 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter, which basically states that firearms are not allowed in public places. Whatever my thoughts are on "open carry" I must enforce the ordinance as adapted by the Portage County Board.

    The Portage County Ordinances may be viewed on the county's website. Any questions about a specific ordinance or it's interpretation can be directed to the Corporation Counsel Office. The Portage County Sheriffs Department will respond to any violation of County Ordinance that we are informed of.

    John E Charewicz
    Help!

    Is this even remotely legal for a county to pass an ordinance that directly infringes on the Wisconsin State Constitution? Where to go from here?

  2. #2
    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    Be prepared to be bombarded with legal lingo, but NO, it is not legal.


    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

  3. #3
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    I need some Portage County OC'ers to get organized with and get to the Corporation Counsel Office with to get this ordinance off the books. This sickens me how this was put on the books somehow.

    I remember last summer, I think, there was an OC rally at a Stevens Point park, made the papers and everything. So sometime between that and my letter this was passed and nobody covered it. My daily reading of our local paper and subscription to the weekly never mentioned it in the last couple years.

    I am LIVID.

  4. #4
    Regular Member AaronS's Avatar
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    No this is not legal. Ant the local cops know it.

    If you wan't to see this changed, you will have to send letters (e-mail has worked for me so far) asking the local Gov. to have this "bad" law removed as it is in direct violation of State Statute 66.0409. Also send a copy of this letter to the heads of police, so they understand that you are free to excercise your rights. Once the letters are sent, I am sure it will be just a few days before you get responces. This is how we have had the same kind of local laws removed from Grafton, Susex, Saukville, just to name a few. Give it a try, and watch the law get changed, it is a great feeling.



    Aaron

  5. #5
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Thanks - I think I am going to draft one letter and send it to this Corporation Counsel Office and CC the Sheriff Dept, the local PD, my local sportsman's club, the two newspapers and local TV news media.

    I'll post it here for review first and hopefully for a copy & paste by some of the locals as well.

  6. #6
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Alright here is the draft I have prepared. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

    To Whom It May Concern;


    I am writing to ask the Portage County Corporation Counsel Office to revoke ordinance 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter.


    This ordinance relates to the act of publicly carrying a firearm in plain sight. This ordinance is in direct violation of Wisconsin Statute 66.0409 WI State Pre-Emption of Firearm Laws. It states:
    Except as provided in subs. (3) and (4), no political subdivision may...regulate the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration or taxation of any firearm...unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.


    This ordinance also violates the WI Constitution Article 1 Section 25:
    The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose.


    I look forward to your prompt resolution of this matter.


    Sincerely,


  7. #7
    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Here is the ordinance, straight from their website:

    http://www.co.portage.wi.us/ordinances/index.shtm

    PORTAGE COUNTY CODE OF ORDINANCES

    Chapter 2 PUBLIC PEACE AND ORDER

    2.1 Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order


    2.1.9 POSSESSION OF FIREARMS IN PUBLIC PLACES

    (A) Whoever does any of the following shall incur a forfeiture not to exceed $300:
    Possess a firearm in a public place.
    (B) Public place includes but is not limited to taverns or other businesses licensed under Chapter 125 of
    the Wisconsin Statutes, churches and any retail merchandise store.
    (C) The carrying of any instrument necessary to certain trades, crafts, sports or professions during the
    usual course of such endeavor is specifically exempted from the terms of this section.
    (D) This section is not intended to prohibit the transportation of a firearm if it is unloaded and dismantled or
    if it is fully encased by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened with no portion of the
    firearm showing within a gun case expressly made for that purpose.
    (E) This section does not apply to peace officers or armed forces or military personnel who go armed in the
    line of duty or any person duly authorized by the sheriff to possess a firearm in a public place.


    Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin Statutes is the alcoholic beverages licensing chapter. Notice that Portage County's definition of "public place" seems to include any establishment that sells alcohol, whether or not it is consumed on the premises. It also adds churches and any retail store. Too bad there's no date on the ordinance.

    Dave
    Dave
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    Fight for "Stand Your Ground " legislation!

    WI DA Gerald R. Fox:
    "These so-called 'public safety' laws only put decent law-abiding citizens at a dangerous disadvantage when it comes to their personal safety, and I for one am glad that this decades-long era of defective thinking on gun issues is over..."

    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

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    Regular Member hardballer's Avatar
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    Hubert should be along any time now as well as others. Definately have set themselves up against state law as enacted in 1995.

    Their stance is completely indefensible and illegal.

    Here is one link to the statutes on the books. http://www.opencarry.org/wi.html

    This one from an attorneys site.

    http://www.kirkobear.com/open_carry_wisconsin.html
    Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. Han Solo

    http://buffaloholstercompany.blogspot.com/ Concealment holsters IWB, SOB, and belt slide. Open Carry too. New from Buffalo Holster, Women's holsters for concealment and or belt carry.

  9. #9
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Here is the updated letter - please let me know what you think.
    [line]
    February 16, 2010


    Portage County Corporation Counsel Office
    County City Building
    1516 Church Street
    Stevens Point WI 54481


    RE: Ordinance 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter


    Dear Michael McKenna:


    I am writing to ask the Portage County Corporation Counsel Office to revoke ordinance 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter. Specifically section B that states:
    Public place includes but is not limited to taverns or other businesses licensed under Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin Statute, churches and any retail store.


    This ordinance relates to the act of publicly carrying a firearm in plain sight. This ordinance is in direct violation of Wisconsin Statute 66.0409 WI State Pre-Emption of Firearm Laws. It states:
    Except as provided in subs. (3) and (4), no political subdivision may...regulate the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration or taxation of any firearm...unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.


    This ordinance also violates the WI Constitution Article 1 Section 25:
    The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose.”


    On April 20th 2009 Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sent out a memo stating that open carry in Wisconsin is legal. The memo is available on the internet at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/file...nCarryMemo.pdf.


    So unless a person is within 1000' of a School Zone, in a tavern or resturant that is serving alchohol for consumption, in a government building or in a state park it is legal to lawfully carry in churches, retail stores and most public places. As Governor Jim Doyle stated: “If you want to carry a gun in Wisconsin, wear it on your hip.”


    I look forward to your prompt resolution of this matter.


    Sincerely,








    Anmut



    cc: Portage County Sheriff Department
    Stevens Point Police Department
    Plover Police Department
    Michael Juris – Amherst Village President
    Rick Osowski – Rosholt Village President
    Stevens Point Journal
    Portage County Gazett
    Isaac Walton League – Bill Cook Chapter
    WAOW Channel 9
    WSAW Channel 7


  10. #10
    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    anmut wrote:
    Thanks guys. Here is the updated letter - please let me know what you think.
    [line]
    February 16, 2010


    Portage County Corporation Counsel Office
    County City Building
    1516 Church Street
    Stevens Point WI 54481


    RE: Ordinance 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter


    Dear Michael McKenna:


    I am writing to ask the Portage County Corporation Counsel Office to revoke ordinance 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter. Specifically section B that states:
    Public place includes but is not limited to taverns or other businesses licensed under Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin Statute, churches and any retail store.


    This ordinance relates to the act of publicly carrying a firearm in plain sight. This ordinance is in direct violation of Wisconsin Statute 66.0409 WI State Pre-Emption of Firearm Laws. It states:
    Except as provided in subs. (3) and (4), no political subdivision may...regulate the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration or taxation of any firearm...unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.


    This ordinance also violates the WI Constitution Article 1 Section 25:
    The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose.”


    On April 20th 2009 Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sent out a memo stating that open carry in Wisconsin is legal. The memo is available on the internet at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/file...nCarryMemo.pdf.


    So unless a person is within 1000' of a School Zone, in a tavern or resturant that is serving alchohol for consumption, in a government building or in a state park it is legal to lawfully carry in churches, retail stores and most public places. As Governor Jim Doyle stated: “If you want to carry a gun in Wisconsin, wear it on your hip.”


    I look forward to your prompt resolution of this matter.


    Sincerely,








    Anmut



    cc: Portage County Sheriff Department
    Stevens Point Police Department
    Plover Police Department
    Michael Juris – Amherst Village President
    Rick Osowski – Rosholt Village President
    Stevens Point Journal
    Portage County Gazett
    Isaac Walton League – Bill Cook Chapter
    WAOW Channel 9
    WSAW Channel 7
    Very, very good letter IMO. One change you might consider to avoid any misunderstandings or misinterpretations, would be to write something like,

    I am writing to ask the Portage County Corporation Counsel Office to change ordinance 2.1.9, section B of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter to:

    Public place as defined in Wisconsin Statute 941.235, Carrying firearm in public building, and Statute 941.237, Carrying handgun where alcohol beverages may be sold and consumed."

    By referencing the actual state statutes, there can be no doubts, plus if the statutes are someday changed in our favor, Portage County would be automatically updated.

    Dave


    Dave
    45ACP-For when you care enough to send the very best-
    Fight for "Stand Your Ground " legislation!

    WI DA Gerald R. Fox:
    "These so-called 'public safety' laws only put decent law-abiding citizens at a dangerous disadvantage when it comes to their personal safety, and I for one am glad that this decades-long era of defective thinking on gun issues is over..."

    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

  11. #11
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Thank you - update made.

  12. #12
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    10 letters in the mail tonight.

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    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    anmut wrote:
    10 letters in the mail tonight.
    NICE!


    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

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    "Whatever my thoughts are on "open carry" I must enforce the ordinance as adapted by the Portage County Board."





    So apparently the sherrifs hands are tied as he has to enforce an unconstitutionalordiance.



    probably would not hurt to write the seantor and rep for the area as well to let them know that this is bull.... also cc to van holland as well? just my thoughts



  15. #15
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Yep, I copied Kirk Obear, Attorney At Law in as well as the local media. Every letter except the original got a personalized cover letter explaining the included letter as well as copies of my original to the sheriff, his reply back and the pdf print out from this website with case law and statutes.

    5 hours, 50 pages of paper, $6 worth of stamps and one bitchy wife (she got put on ignore after I got my head wrapped around this) later I'm a tired but feel like it was worth it.

    In case any other people from Portage County want to print out and send this letter out I've attached it as a doc on this post.



  16. #16
    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    anmut:

    The "churches and any retail merchandise store" part of the ordinance is unenforceable on it's face, and the Sheriff knows it. I have carried in several public places in Portage county.



    (WalMart, Best Buy, Dairy Queen, Fleet Farm, Culver's, Kohl's, K-Mart, Perkins, Hardees, etc.)

    Just check the "central sands" thread I started.
    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_to...mp;forum_id=57

    The Portage County Sheriff is admittedly ANTI-Gun, and he is proud of it. He is attempting to intimidate you into NOT exercising your rights, just like the current Sussex issue.

    I will be in Marshfield, WI at the gun show there next weekend. I would be more than happy to hook up with you at that time.

  17. #17
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Thanks man - I did send him a copy of everything that I sent out to the Counsel. I'll keep you guys informed!

    Btw, is this another B&R gun show? If NOT I may actually attend. I'm kinda sick of the same ol same at the B&R shows.

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    anmut wrote:
    Thanks guys. Here is the updated letter - please let me know what you think.
    [line]
    February 16, 2010


    Portage County Corporation Counsel Office
    County City Building
    1516 Church Street
    Stevens Point WI 54481


    RE: Ordinance 2.1.9 of the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order Chapter
    Your efforst should e directed at teh city council - their lawyer works for them

  19. #19
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Actually they dont - we have a county executive that presides.

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    anmut wrote:
    Thanks man - I did send him a copy of everything that I sent out to the Counsel. I'll keep you guys informed!

    Btw, is this another B&R gun show? If NOT I may actually attend. I'm kinda sick of the same ol same at the B&R shows.
    This is NOT a Bob & Rocco show.

  21. #21
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Nice - got a link to info on it? Time/place?

  22. #22
    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    Visit www.Wisconsincarry.org

    Check out events page. It lists all scheduled events.

  23. #23
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    Great work here anmut, I had never seen or heard anything about this either, this blows me away! I am very eager to see what kind of response you get from yours, please do keep us posted and thank you for your efforts!

  24. #24
    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    I think anmut has done a great thing here. He is requesting the ordinance be amended to bring it in line with state law.

    In the meantime, as I stated over on the "central sands" thread http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=26393&forum_id=57
    I have carried just about everywhere in Portage County one could legally carry per STATE law. WalMart screwed up once and asked me to leave, then they welcomed me back with open arms.

    LEO in Portage know this ordinance cannot be enforced, they are simply trying in intimidate the public, just like the current issue in Sussex.

    If anmut can work it out, I will be available to speak with any and all Portage County citizens next week.

    I appreciate your efforts there anmut, keep up the good work and ........

    Please see if you can find a schedule of County committee meetings and board meetings for March. Might have to come to a few of them.

    Carry On!


  25. #25
    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    I would also suggest you forward you letter and copies of the corespondance to the Portage County DA including with it the AG memo from April.

    Be nice like in this letter but point out the Sheriff has put in writing his intent to violate State Statute 66.0409 and as this is a clear violation, request information about how you go about filing a criminal complaint against the sheriff.

    Make sure you have your VOR and be ready to document every interaction you have with LEO after sending that to the DA just as a CYA.

    If the DA fails to take action, then you escalate by filing a complaint against both the DA and the Sheriff with the AG.


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